Tricked-Out Drill-Press Table

Can boring get interesting? With this design it just did. 

Overall dimensions: 46 3⁄4"w × 15"d × 6 1⁄8"h (extension tables open; closed, 29 3⁄4"w)

After studying a variety of woodworking drill-press tables going back the last two decades, and having made a couple along the way, I took up the challenge of designing what I feel is the most versatile and functional fixture for the home shop. I wanted it to incorporate the latest quality hardware and materials while keeping the cost reasonable.  I employed a selection of knobs, Kreg Mini T-Trak, screws, hold-downs, and hard-wearing phenolic-faced plywood, an ideal product for shop use.

Beyond materials, I wanted the fixture do it all. I spec’d the table to include replaceable hardboard inserts, hold-downs, sturdy extensions tables that expand the width to a whopping 46 3⁄4", and adjustable fence systems, complete with stops. I also added a sliding and locking vertical table for boring into the ends of workpieces that you can quickly remove when not in use. Finally, by attaching the horizontal table to a box structure, I created three handy compartments for storing bits and accessories. The assembly installs easily on a standard sized table.

Note: For the items needed to make the drill-press table, see the Drill-Press Table Kit in the Convenience-Plus Buying Guide below.

With the bit in the start hole and the fence and stops in place, move the workpiece as shown to cut the slot.
Team up a miter gauge extension with the saw’s fence to cut the notches for the aluminum tubes.

Make the platform and box

1 Cut the platform (A), box bottom (B), sides (C), dividers (D), back (E), and horizontal table (F) to the sizes listed in the Cut List.

2 To secure the platform (A) to your drill-press table, drill the 5⁄8" counterbored recess 1⁄8" deep with a 1⁄4" through-hole where shown in Figure 1.

3 Layout the slots on platform (A) and the left side (C) where shown. Now, at your drill press and using a clamped-on fence, drill the 3⁄8" bit start and stop holes at both ends of the slot. Move to your router table, and chuck in a 5⁄16" straight bit. Use the holes in the platform (and later the side) to set up the fence and infeed and outfeed stops by lowering and centering the holes in the parts over the bit and adjusting the fence and stops accordingly. Next, rout the slots, as shown in Photo A.

4 Equip your tablesaw with a 3⁄4" dado set, and raise it to cut 3⁄8" deep. Note the locations of the grooves for the T-track in the box bottom (B), left side (C), and horizontal table (F). Adjust your fence as needed, and cut the grooves in these parts.

5 Lower the dado set to 1⁄8", adjust the fence, and cut the grooves on the top face of the box bottom (B) for the dividers (D) where shown in Figure 1. Add a sacrificial fence to the saw’s fence, adjust the fence, and cut the rabbets in the bottom for receiving the sides (C) and back (E).

6 Cut the 3⁄4 × 3⁄4" notches with your dado blade in the sides (C) and dividers (D) for the extension tubes. (Note: To enable the extension arms to retract into the base, the notches on the left side are offset from those on the right. Measuring from the front edges, lay out and label each part. Indicate the front edges as well, to avoid confusion.) Add a miter gauge extension fence, adjust the saw fence to serve as a stop, and carefully cut the notches as shown in Photo B. Check the notches with a tube to ensure a proper sliding fit.

With the workpiece pressed firmly to the table with a hold-down and hand, raise the blade through it to complete the cutout in the jig.
Run the pattern cutting bit clockwise around the template to rout a cutout with clean, square edges.

7 Cut the glide strip (G) to size. Then glue and clamp it in the groove in the left side (C).

8 To create the opening in the horizontal table (F) for the replaceable inserts (Q), make a simple one-time-use template with a rectangular opening having square corners and straight edges. Cut a 3⁄4" piece of MDF to 15" square. Label one edge “front” and the opposing edge “back.” Next, lay out the opening, using the distances from the edges of the workpiece to the saw blade in Photo C. To make the first of two side cuts, set up a stopblock 9" back from the center of the blade. Adjust the fence 5 1⁄2" from the blade; lower the blade. Place the workpiece against the fence and stop, securing it at one edge with a clamped hold-down block. Turn on the saw and raise the blade through the workpiece until it intersects the perpendicular layout lines. Lower the blade, flip the workpiece edge for edge, and similarly cut the opposing side kerf. Flip the piece again, layout face up. Now using the dimensions in the photo, adjust the stop and fence and make the remaining cuts.

9 Center the jig between the ends on the horizontal table (F) and clamp it in place. Then mark the opening to be cut out and remove the template. Drill a start hole, and then jigsaw the opening, cutting 1⁄8" inside the marked line. Now reposition the jig over the hole and clamp it to the table. With a router and 1⁄2" pattern cutting bit, rout the opening (Photo D).

10 Chuck a 3⁄8" rabbeting bit in your handheld router, and set the cut depth to the thickness of the replaceable inserts (Q). Rout around the opening.

11 Lay out and bandsaw the radius notch for the drill-press post on the back edge of horizontal table (F) where shown in Figure 1.

12 Layout and drill the countersunk shank holes where shown for the box bottom (B) and horizontal table (F).

13 Clamp the box bottom (B), sides (C), dividers (D), back (E), and the horizontal table (F) together, referring to Figure 1. Then drill the pilot holes into the mating parts using the shank holes as guides. Drive the screws to complete the box assembly.

With the extension assembly aligned with the box, drill the holes for securing the aluminum tubes with screws. 
Using a 2-by follower block for safety and support, rout the 1⁄2" corner radii on a batch of replaceable inserts.

Build the fences and extension tables

1 Cut the horizontal fence face (H), horizontal fence support (I), vertical table (J), vertical fence face (K), vertical fence support (L), vertical fence end  (M), extension tabletop (N), extension table side (O), and stops (P) to the sizes listed in the Cut List.

2 Lay out and cut all the dadoes and grooves for the T-track in the horizontal fence face (H) vertical fence face (K), and vertical table (J). See Figures 2 and 3. Lay out and cut the groove on the inside face of the vertical table for the glide strip (G). Widen the groove to 49⁄64" and cut it to a depth of 13⁄32" to allow for sliding action.

3 Layout the radii for the curved notches for the drill-press chuck and handle in the horizontal fence face (H) and for the drill-press post in the horizontal fence support (I), where shown in Figure 2. Bandsaw the notches and drum-sand them smooth.

4 Drill the assembly holes for the fences (H, I and K, L, M) and extension tables (N, O), where shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3. Also drill the holes for the hex head and carriage bolts, including the centered holes in stops (P). Note that the carriage bolt hole in the vertical table (J) is counterbored. Now clamp and screw the mating parts together.

5 Set up your tablesaw with an 80-tooth carbide blade, zero-clearance insert, and miter gauge with an extension fence to back up the part. Now cut the T-track pieces to size. Clean the T-tracks to remove any oil that might interfere with making a good bond. Spread epoxy in the T-track grooves with glue brushes, and fit and clamp the tracks in place, wiping up any squeeze-out with rubbing alcohol. Let cure.

6 Cut the aluminum tubes to 18" long, and drill a pair of attachment holes on the ends of each tube (Figure 1). Now, turn the box assembly over, horizontal table face-down. Insert the tubes into the notches and fit one extension table assembly (N, O) into position alongside the box assembly. Cut and fit a 3" spacer between the two tables to allow room for a cordless drill. Then clamp a pair of straightedge strips at the front and back of the assembly to align the tables. Mark pilot holes on the underside of the extension table, guiding on the tube holes. Drill the pilot holes in the table (Photo E), then drive the screws, securing the tubes. Repeat for the other extension table. Flip the box assembly table side up.

7 From 1⁄4" hardboard, cut a batch of replaceable inserts (Q) to size. Radius the corners with a 1⁄2" round-over bit in a router table as shown in Photo F, or stack-bandsaw and disc-sand several pieces using the same 1⁄2" radius.

Final assembly

1 Insert a 1⁄4 × 6" carriage bolt through the platform (A), and then the center of the drill-press table, securing it with a fender washer and five-star knob.

2 Next, insert the 1⁄4 × 1 1⁄2" hex bolts into the slots in platform (A), and loosely hold them in place with washers and three-star knobs. Fit the bolt heads into the T-track at the bottom of the box assembly. Center the assembly (and insert opening) under the chuck. Tighten the knobs.

3 To attach the vertical table (J) to the box assembly, first remove the left-hand extension table. Fit the table’s groove onto the glide strip (G), and secure the table with a 2" carriage bolt, fender washer, and knob. Change out the assemblies as needed.

4 Attach the fences to both tables with the hex head bolts, washers, and three-star knobs. Similarly add the stops (P). Finally, drop a replaceable insert in the rabbeted opening, and you’re ready for business.

About Our Designer/Builder

Chuck Hedlund of Westerville, Ohio, has worked wood most of his adult life as a custom millworker and builder of quality furniture and cabinetry. He is a frequent contributing craftsman for Woodcraft Magazine.

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